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The Working Families Party is a fusion party that can be found in New York and a few other states. Usually allied with Democrats their only threat is that a Democratic candidate cannot claim votes in the WFP column came from conservative voters. When Cuomo vowed and offensive against labor unions, his WFP endorsement seemed to go against the Party platform.

Andrew M. Cuomo  will mount a presidential-style permanent political campaign to counter the well-financed labor unions he believes have bullied previous governors and lawmakers into making bad decisions. He will seek to transform the state's weak business lobby into a more formidable ally, believing that corporate leaders in New York have virtually surrendered the field to big labor.

Finding out that the WFP had adjusted their own platform to the will of Andrew Cuomo was shocking. The short version is that Cuomo blackmailed the Working Families Party but below the fold I'll follow the full explanation by Celeste Katz to understand how a union hating gubernatorial candidate got the endorsement of a party that is suppose to represent labor.

Did you know that the Working Families Party (or any third party) has to receive 50,000 votes in the governors race this year to be on the ticket in 2012? Not getting those 50,000 (and it was because of Andrew Cuomo) was how the Liberal Party lost a column in New York State and later withered and died.

This is what Cuomo used as leverage to force a People's Party into representing change Cuomo can believe in. Progressive in New York were attempting to change that rule so that the hurdle for a column in the 2012 race would be 50,000 votes in any statewide race.

To reduce some of Mr. Cuomo's leverage over the party, allies of the party in the State Senate on Sunday introduced legislation that would allow the Working Families Party to retain its line if any of its endorsed candidates for statewide office, including for United States Senate or comptroller, won 50,000 votes. But the bill's prospects in the Legislature are uncertain.

Mr. Cuomo has promised to rein in state spending and hold the line on new taxes if he is elected governor. But that agenda clashes with the aims of the Working Families Party, which has advocated for an energetic, expansive public sector and for middle-class property tax relief financed by higher taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers.

As a result, Mr. Cuomo's demands have set off a furious debate within the party coalition, which includes labor powerhouses like Service Employees International Union 1199, the health care workers union, and the United Federation of Teachers, which represents New York City teachers. Some of the party's constituents believe Mr. Cuomo is intent on emasculating their coalition before he arrives in Albany, viewing it as a potential threat to his authority if he becomes governor.

Staying alive with 50,000 votes in any statewide race would have been a big problem for Cuomo's "weak business lobby" while those "well-financed labor unions" must not have been as strong as Cuomo claimed because no laws were changed. The tabloid media fought hard against the change as though the two party keepers of the plutocracy stand above or even for the working families in New York. The Daily News editorial, A mandate for Andrew: Cuomo must reject the Working Families Party ballot line did not want voting cheapened.  

The WFP - in cahoots with pliable state Senate Democrats - is trying to jam through a major change in election law that would serve no purpose other than saving its own skin.

Under longstanding statutes, the party's survival depends on garnering 50,000 votes in the governor's race. That seems unlikely if Democratic candidate Cuomo spurns its endorsement, as he must if he aspires to take office with a clear mandate for fiscally responsible change.

The WFP's underhanded plan would substantially lower that bar, so winning 50,000 votes in any statewide race would preserve its ballot status - and its power to make or break politicians.

Following the explanation of Celeste Katz who writes The Daily Politic at the New York Daily News she began her story of kneecapping the labor unions back in early June with  Cuomo: WFP = NO.

State Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Cuomo is staying far, far away from the controversial Working Families Party line this cycle, his campaign says:
"The Working Families Party Convention is this weekend and we will not be submitting Andrew Cuomo's name for the nomination," said Cuomo spokesman Phil Singer. "There are several open issues that need to be considered, including but not limited to an ongoing Federal investigation as well as policy and procedural issues. We will revisit the question in September at which time there will be more information available."

A number of newspapers (including, in the nature of full disclosure, the Daily News, with whose editorial policy I don't have any connection) have pressed Cuomo to reject the WFP line.

Cuomo has, however, accepted the nomination of the Independence Party, which has an operative who is also under investigation related to the fate of money spent on Mayor Bloomberg's 2009 campaign. The operative, John Haggerty, now works for GOP gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino, who has defended the hire.

At the time while Cuomo was defending the Independence Party being investigated, the investigation that Cuomo used as an excuse was going quite smoothly but with both major parties picking a union busting and worker hating candidate for gov the WFP was in a pickle and Cuomo knew just how to fix them.

Now with the rule change to 50,000 votes in any statewide race, the WFP could continue to exist without endorsing major party candidate in the governors race and then be allowed to maintain Party integrity. Such a foreign word to the major parties. Wouldn't an empty column or a minor party candidate in the governors race getting the WFP slot just suck for the status quo? But those "well-financed labor unions" couldn't change a thing so Cuomo used his power of the 50,000 votes as an ultimatum, Cuomo To WFP: Endorse Me AND Endorse My Agenda.

Andrew Cuomo delivered a blunt message to the Working Families Party this morning that he's not willing to run on their line UNLESS they sign on to his reform agenda.

"I wouldn't accept the nomination unless they support my platform," Cuomo said during an appearance on Albany's Talk 1300 radio station.

Then torn and tattered with the Working Families Party platform muddled through manipulation, the only choice that means survival is endorsing the union busting Democrat.

Apparently choosing between maintaining their resistance to Andrew Cuomo's push for money-saving labor concessions and risking losing their ballot status, the Working Families Party has just announced they'll be nominating Cuomo for governor.

Said a statement from Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor:

"The Working Families Party is proud to announce it will be nominating Andrew Cuomo as our gubernatorial candidate. He's clearly the right leader for New York. We will be fighting for his electoral victory in November and then fight for legislative passage of his New NY Agenda in January.

"While some of our members have differed in the past on some of the specific issues in the New NY Agenda, the Executive Committee unanimously takes this position because we understand and accept Andrew's point that this is a pivotal moment in the history of this state, similar to the 1975 New York City fiscal crisis, when leaders in the labor, civic, business and political arena must put aside their individual agendas for the good of the entire state.

Even if you are totally delusional like Andrew Cuomo and believe that unions are too powerful there is no excuse for blackmailing the Working Families Party into changing their platform and going against what they have stood for since 1998. A spokesman for Rick Lazio made a very valid point "Back-room political dealing in Albany is exactly what New Yorkers are tired of and what Andrew Cuomo has perfected over nearly 30 years in Albany."

There is no excuse but there is a reason behind these back room politics. This whole Democrats in minority talking progress and then having no argument after graduating to the majority gets old fast. Voters could start asking "What if these Third party candidates are not planning to capitulate on every promise once elected?" A Party with integrity represents a threat to Democrats. A Party that actually stands for something can't be allowed by the Democratic machine so Andrew Cuomo took away what the Working Families Party stood for.

This does not make the WFP bad. They are just trying to survive as a fusion Party where voters would be allowed to send a message to Democrats and they were manipulated into choosing a right leaning candidate to survive. Now as New York workers have long known the choice is the Democrat that hates us or the Republican that hates us even more. This time to add insult to injury a vote for Andrew Cuomo is a vote for the survival of the Working Families Party.

Originally posted to Eddie C on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 09:17 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Apple fell very far from the tree (21+ / 0-)

    Do you remember Mario Cuomo's 1984 Keynote Address?

    Yes I remember what Democrats once sounded like and I also remember that electing the children of former leaders dosen't always work out so good. This Andrew Cuomo is a real gem. Do you remember two years back when we elected a president who sounded like he was on the union's side? Instead of the Employees Free Choice Act union workers got a President who is all about annex schools. Instead of Health care reform we got insurance company expansion financed by a 40% excise tax on our crappy insurance. Two years later in a Blue State like New York we start with a union busting governor being the best choice in the political atmosphere induced by a national debate with the tone set by a Democratic president and a Democratic majority in both houses?

    Oh right according to the Progressive blogs only Republican get to set the tone when they are in charge. Blame the right wing media and established republican think tanks while ignoring the fact that Blue State Democrats went mute as Republicans and Conservative Dems took over the national debate. Discussing what the Liberal Dems didn't say or why they didn't say might have cost a few votes. Besides, as almost anyone here can tell you at this website where conspiracy theories are supposedly banned, someday a "newer better democrat" will pop out of a magic bubble.    

    Do you remember my Eric Schneiderman diary? Never mind, almost nobody thought a diary that started with "Want Progress?" was worth opening. Well with all the powers aligned against him, must be that "weak business lobby" that Andrew Cuomo imagines, now Eric Schneiderman, the only real progressive in New York and loaded down with cash from progressive supporters is tied with the wingnut.

    According to a Siena College Research Institute survey of likely voters released over the weekend, Mr. Schneiderman and Mr. Donovan were in a dead heat at 44 percent each. Twelve percent were undecided.

    Eric is not the only Democrat in a statewide race who is seeing trouble. Cuomo never endorsed Tom DiNapoli who is the Democrat running for Comptroller. Tom DiNapoli was actually cleared by Cuomo of any wrongdoings but Cuomo feels an endorsement would be inappropriate.

    "Andrew Cuomo is safe; he's going to be the next governor of this state," said New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez during a sidewalk rally in the largely Latino Washington Heights neighborhood. "Now we have to ensure that Schneiderman and DiNapoli are going to be winning with him."

    Cuomo put a wrinkle in that, first mentioning DiNapoli during his remarks but then refusing to endorse him at a noontime rally on the Upper West Side.

    The repugs and tabloids have been going on and on for weeks advising Cuomo on a Republican endorsement with Cuomo staying mute.

    Yet it's a measure of this deep-blue state that DiNapoli nonetheless enjoys a lead in the polls.

    But the gap is not insurmountable, with first-time candidate Wilson spending much of his own money to promote his credentials. His integrity and sound plans for changes have won him the support of most major state newspapers, including The Post, Times and News in the city.

    DiNapoli, on the other hand, is funded largely by the labor unions whose unsustainable work rules and perks he has failed to challenge.

    Against that backdrop, it's a logical step for Cuomo to support Wilson. Party labels are all that stand in the way. In this year of emergency and insurgency, that shouldn't stop a good idea.

    But we all know that Democrats are not obliged to endorse Democrats. Sort of the way obama felt about the Democratic candidate for governor in Rhode Island. It looks like Tom DiNapoli is going down and so is the Democratic majority in the State Senate. But Andrew Cuomo is safe at home.

    Then again, none of this matters here, does it? There's really no chance of getting Democrats to actually involve themselves with the people so just keep the nastys about Republicans coming and make fun of the Tea Party. Personal attacks, making it about bigotry and spewing hatred will lead to progress.

    Progress like a president who feels the only problem in American education is union teachers. Progress like organized labor giving more back on every contract with nobody noticing and a NY Democratic gov talking about the troubles of "well-financed labor unions." Cuomo is right about one thing, unions do raise money to protect jobs, jobs that pay less and less each year.

    Now we are counting down the days to the 40% excise tax on our "Cadillac Health Care" with Cuomo's "presidential-style permanent political campaign to counter" labor unions sounding very much like a republican platform, unless you look at the recent actions of Democrats. Does you even remember the Democrats sponsoring the Employee Free Choice Act back in 2008? How about back in 2006 when Harry Reid promised the Blue State workers that a Democratic majority will restore the federal tax code so that both state sales tax and mortgage interest would be deductible on federal tax again? Last we heard of that.

    Or you could just call me naive because after working to get Barack Obama elected, I was under the impression that health care reform was about a government run insurance option to keep the murder by spreadsheet gang honest. I was optimistically thinking that "no mandates" meant Americans would not be mandated into supporting Wall St. dividends. There was the "Hope" that Obama's only mandate was mandating quality health coverage. Only a fool would expect no back room deals with special interest groups and Americans getting drug price controls. I seem to remember that the Republican candidate wanted to do away with the tax exempt status of employee contributions and that Barack Obama was going to repeal Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, using that money to pay for health care reform. What the rich paying? Never happen from either party and of course the insurance companies keeping their antitrust exemption was the fault of the Republican minority.

    I wonder if Barack Obama remembers when 76% of the people supported a public option. That was before the president transformed it to "Not Politically Feasible." It seems that today the public gets to transform the Democrats into "Not Politically Feasible." Hate to say "I told you so" but I told you so.

    Now after this bloodbath is over you won't find anything about lack of organized labor participation. That won't fit in with Obama 2.0 but a trend that started with 50% of union households in Massachusetts voting for Scott Brown continues today. Union leaders tell us that we need to vote for the candidate that will screw up less but the workers know they are screwed under Democrats and we are pissed off. But so many of you rationalized how a 40% excise tax on health care made good sense and now watch how that becomes an exile tax for union and state workers. Well the results of blind partisanship and not policing the Democrats is House Speaker Boehner.

    PROUD to be a Democrat? You're kidding right? Only the truly delusional would place FDR in the same category as this gang of corporate whores. I went back to the MSM for a dose of reality.

    After two years of taking his base for granted, the former Pied Piper of America’s youth had to spar with Jon Stewart to try to get the attention of young people who once idolized him.

    Obama still has the killer smile, but he’s more often sniffy than funny. When Stewart called White House legislation "timid," Obama got defensive and offered a less-than-thrilling new mantra: "Yes, we can but ..."

    "We have done things that people don’t even know about," said Obama, who left his Great Communicator mantle back in Grant Park on election night.

    In 2008, the message was him. The promise was him. And that’s why 2010 is a referendum on him.

    It seems the only thing Democrats are really good at is suppressing Third Parties and they need to be. Since "both parties will sell out the middle class faster than Jim Cramer can yell 'booyah,'" the emergence of a Peoples Party would sweep those dogs under the carpet. And the Working Families Party isn't even a real Third Party, just a means of voters making a statement that Democrats will not tolerate.  

    I'm so sorry that I wasted so much time and money coming back to the Democrats. I learned they were worthless a long time ago when they still had a little something to offer. I wasted my time coming back because I was inspired by some words I heard from a lectern at the first Yearly Kos. "First we will take back the House and Senate, then the White House and then we will force the Democrats to do the right thing."

    Tomorrow when the Republicans start working on the Presidential run, justified in the place they always held, controlling the nation debate, dailykos will seem relevant again. But I won't be back "No We Can't."

    The saddest part is that I'm going down right now to vote Democrat. I have no choice in this one party system but to vote for the bullshit talking points. And because of blind partisanship there will never be another Mario Cuomo while ten years from now Andrew Cuomo will seem too far to the left in the national debate.

    Just remember if you ever see a young progressive activist around here, lovingly explain how "progress is glacial." You wouldn't want anyone flying off the handle and placing the people before the future of Democratic leadership.  

    •  Donovan is no wingnut (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, m16eib

      but a successful prosecutor. Among other things, he stood up to the Islamophobes and defended the right of the Park51 people to build. He is arguably better qualified to Schneiderman.

      I'm voting for Schneiderman, but calling the opponent a wingnut is not helpful. There are three reasons I'm voting for Schneiderman:

      (1) He is my state senator and has done a good job.

      (2) He has acknowledged that the prohibition against any government support of religious schools is unfair.

      (3) Donovan has accepted huge amounts of campaign money from Wall Street interests he will need to investigate.

  •  Great context, even though I disagree on points (6+ / 0-)

    No sense in arguing them, though I'll note that everyone - EVERYONE - moved with the right-shifting Overton Window since Reagan's time.  Clinton, etc. . . . it became about money, machines and media in a highly focused manner.

    It's now the way of the world, so any populist and fair voices that are brought into actual places of governmental work are easily drowned out by the selfish, I've-got-mine-screw-you majority in both aisles.  Democrats are still our better choice of two evils, as we've seen, so yes: it makes progress far more glacial than we recognize as needed.

    Eh, fear is just adding onto desperation for lots of people and this is what escalates the rush of money and power towards those already in the political game, I feel.  This leads to all you said about the WFP and so forth, IMHO.

    It's good to rage against the machine once in awhile, but also to just accept that fighting against power is an ongoing struggle, I suppose . . .

    Good to see you again.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 09:35:21 AM PDT

  •  Cast my vote early this AM (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hazey, Eddie C, wader, m16eib, priceman

    It took me longer than usual to mark my ballot. Thank heavens NY did away with those antiquated voting machines or the line behind me might have been around the block in this very quiet precinct.

  •  In Connecticut the WFP endorsed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, NY brit expat

    Dan Malloy for Governor. I don't think he is anywhere near as bad as Cuomo BUT... They don't call him "DLC Dan" for nothing. Keeping in mind that there are BIG differences between Malloy and the GOP candidate for Gov..

    ePluribus Media
    Collaboration is contagious!

    by m16eib on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 10:29:07 AM PDT

  •  Maybe I am wrong, but wouldn't it have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eddie C, wader

    been better if the WFP just didn't make an endorsement for NY governor? Endorsing someone that disagrees with your principles and even more so will attack the people that you are representing seems to be defeating the purpose of the party and honestly will not serve anyone's interest. Even if people vote for Cuomo on WFP's line, he will not give credence to their positions.

    No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

    by NY brit expat on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 12:07:40 PM PDT

  •  zomg!!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, princesspat


    hooray for progressives and their friends everywhere!

    tomorrow we fight on!

  •  Thank you Eddie C for this outstanding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, princesspat


    We need to teach people that the environment has a direct bearing on our own benefit. Dalai Lama

    by maggiejean on Tue Nov 02, 2010 at 09:49:36 PM PDT

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